PhD Workshop: Grounded Theory Essentials (08.11.2013, 09:00-12:30, room WE5/03.004)

Instructor: Dr. Fred Niederman (email:

Fred Niederman is Shaughnessy Endowed Professor at St. Louis University and a renowned IS researcher focusing his recent research on grounded theory and design science. Many also know him as moderator for the ICIS senior scholar panels, long time Chair of the ACM CPR group, or senior editor for Journals such as JAIS. His research has been published in journals including MISQ, JMIS, CACM, IEEE Computer.

Workshop description:

Grounded theory (GT) is a useful framework for guiding a particularly effective qualitative approach to exploratory research.  In the domain of IS research, the addition of new technologies to our collective portfolio triggers the frequent invention and discovery of new and interesting arenas for study.  Recent GT studies have examined diverse topics including the nature of participation in virtual worlds, the responses of IS departments to business mergers and acquisitions, to the organization of labor and communications in outsourced projects, and many more.  A recent special issue of the European Journal of Information Systems was devoted to papers regarding the method and displaying its use in exploratory IS studies.

This presentation will examine the background, philosophy, and basic components of grounded theory.  Even those scholars who do not directly perform research using this method, will find themselves evaluating such work in reviewing studies and potentially using findings as support, background, or motivation for their studies in their own topical domain.  Additionally, a number of activities will be presented in class to provide students with a sample of the process and activities involved in the performance of GT research.

GT related readings:

  • Bryant, A. (2002). Re-Grounding Grounded Theory. Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application, 4(1), 25-42.
  • Corbin, Juliet, and Strauss, Anselm. 1990. “Grounded Theory Research: Procedures, Canons, and Evaluative Criteria,” Qualitative Sociology (13:1), pp. 3–21.
  • Eisenhardt, K. M. 1989. “Building Theories from Case Study Research,” Academy of Management Review (14:4), pp. 532–550.
  • Glaser, B. G. 1992. Emergence vs. Forcing: Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis, Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press.
  • Glaser, B. G., and Strauss, A. 1967. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies of Qualitative Research, Chicago, IL: Aldine.
  • Gregor, S. 2006. “The Nature of Theory in Information Systems,” MIS Quarterly (30:3), pp. 611–642.
  • Lee, A. S., and Hubona, G. S. 2009. “A Scientific Basis for Rigor and Relevance in Information Systems Research,” MIS Quarterly (33:2), pp. 237–262.
  • Locke, K. (2000).  Grounded Theory in Management Research (SAGE Series in Management Research), Sage Publications Limited, Newberry Park, CA,
  • Strauss, A., and Corbin, J. 1998. Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques, (Second), Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Strauss, Anselm. 1987. Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Suddaby, R. (2006). From the Editors: What Grounded Theory is Not. Academy of Management Journal, 49(4), 633-642.
  • Urquhart, C., Lehmann, H., and Myers, M. D. 2010. “Putting the ‘theory’ back into grounded theory: guidelines for grounded theory studies in information systems,” Information Systems Journal (20), pp. 357–381.
  • Webster, J., & Watson, R. T. (2002). Analyzing the Past to Prepare for the Future: Writing a Literature Review. MIS Quarterly, 26(2), xiii-xxiii.